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Issue 33, 2012
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Patterning a surface so as to speed nucleation from solution

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Motivated by the question of how to pattern a surface in order to best speed nucleation from solution, we build on the work of Page and Sear [Phys. Rev. Lett., 2006, 97, 65701] and calculate rates and free energy profiles for nucleation in the 3d Ising model in the presence of cuboidal pores. Pores of well-chosen aspect ratio can dramatically speed nucleation relative to a planar surface made of the same material, while badly chosen pores provide no such enhancement. For a given pore, the maximum nucleation rate is achieved when one of its two horizontal dimensions attains a critical length, largely irrespective of the other dimension (provided that the latter is large enough). This observation implies that patterning a surface with repeated copies of a well-chosen pore is a better strategy for speeding nucleation than e.g. scoring long grooves in it.

Graphical abstract: Patterning a surface so as to speed nucleation from solution

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Publication details

The article was received on 04 May 2012, accepted on 14 Jun 2012 and first published on 06 Jul 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26038G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 8624-8635

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    Patterning a surface so as to speed nucleation from solution

    L. O. Hedges and S. Whitelam, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 8624
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26038G

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